Definition of catalyst noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈkætəlɪst//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈkætəlɪst//
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  1. 1 (chemistry) a substance that makes a chemical reaction happen faster without being changed itself Chlorine will act as a catalyst. Wordfinderacid, catalyst, chemistry, compound, formula, molecule, pH, react, solution, valency
  2. 2catalyst (for something) a person or thing that causes a change I see my role as being a catalyst for change. The riots were later seen as the catalyst for the new political developments.
  3. Word Originearly 20th cent.: from catalysis, ‘the acceleration of a chemical reaction by a catalyst’, on the pattern of analyst.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: catalyst